eResearch Report 2017 - 2018 - Page 25



Building the infrastructure to meet our needs
“The RCC project was very
rewarding in terms of customer
satisfaction,” says Bruce Fielies,
senior manager of Workplace
Services at ICTS. “Researchers are
used to working on campus and
take this connectivity for granted.
Then they go to rural research sites
and they’re confronted with major
challenges around internet speeds
and instability of connection.”
Fortunately, the lack of access
to adequate broadband in rural
areas was identified by the Tertiary
Education and Research Network
of South Africa (TENET). They
procured a grant from government
to connect the 53 mostly rural
higher education research and
teaching sites in South Africa
to the South African National
Research Network (SANReN).
Once TENET secured the funding,
universities submitted their rural
sites for approval as beneficiaries.
TENET then covered the
installation costs and two years’
maintenance costs to keep these
sites on the network.
At UCT, ICTS has connected a
total of nine rural sites so far, with
four still in progress. Researchers
can now easily access the
internet and collect and upload
data, with little or no connectivity
interruptions. Students at these
campuses can also access
their lectures through video
conference facilities.
“We have had very positive
feedback from researchers
and students,” says Riedewaan
Jacobs, senior technical officer
at ICTS. “The speeds offered
by the new infrastructure are
significant, which enables us
to deliver the same services
available on upper campus.”
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